1381.0 - Research Paper: A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans, 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/03/2013  First Issue
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Image: Education word cloud

Forty-nine RDA committees identified education as an issue. More specifically, education issues fell into the categories of participation and educational outcomes and the standard of educational services and facilities.

5.1.1 Participation and Outcomes

Forty RDA committees reported low levels of educational participation and attainment compared to state averages. Common concerns included low school retention rates, completion of Year 12, participation in post-school education, apprenticeship commencements and attainment of post-school qualifications. High levels of truancy and low levels of literacy and numeracy in some Indigenous communities were raised as an issue in some regions. Another frequently reported issue was a geographic disparity within regions in Year 12 completion and tertiary participation rates. In one example, Logan RDA reported a correlation between low rates of completion of secondary school and high levels of unemployment in some areas (RDA Logan and Redlands, 2011, p. 12).

5.1.2 Services and Facilities

Limited educational opportunities and facilities were raised by 38 RDA committees. A lack of post-school education and training opportunities was frequently reported, particularly in rural communities. Some RDA committees reported that school closures in remote communities and the centralisation of tertiary and vocational education services to regional centres forced students to travel long distances for education. This, coupled with poor public transport and a shortage of student accommodation, was commonly identified as a significant barrier to participation in further education.

The need for a broader range of tertiary and vocational courses and for clearer pathways and linkages between schools, tertiary studies and employment was commonly discussed. Several RDA committees stated the need for greater collaboration between industry and training providers so that training reflected regional employment opportunities. Other educational issues included attracting and retaining teaching staff, ageing school facilities, a lack of information and communications technology training and cultural education, a lack of support for students who are unable to attend school for social or economic reasons and heightened pressure on schools due to an increased compulsory leaving age in some states.